6 April 2018
Multiple Sclerosis and Fatigue – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Suzanne Eustace
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects 23,000 people in Australia. Three times more women are diagnosed with MS than men.
MS affects the nervous system and interferes with the nerve impulses within the brain. It can cause neuralgia i.e. pins and needles and visual disturbances. People with multiple sclerosis may also experience memory loss, depression and cognitive changes.
Fatigue is another adverse symptom of multiple sclerosis. The exact mechanism underlying this is unknown, however, it can be attributed to any combination of health problems such as decreased motor control which leads to spasms, weakness, poor coordination, balance and loss of function of the arms and legs.
The fatigue associated with MS can produce an overwhelming sense of tiredness that can occur without warning. It can be as a result of heat sensitivity which is exacerbated by humidity and general high temperatures in summer. It can also result from completing simple daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and preparing meals.
The tiredness is not always in proportion to the activity. Sometimes after mild exertion, the fatigue can last longer and take twice the time to recover. Fatigue can cause other MS symptoms to become worse.
Some suggestions for managing fatigue are to listen to your body and pace yourself, rest and restore. Practicing relaxation techniques, yoga and tai chi can really help with restoring the stamina levels. Light exercise can help to increase the energy levels and a healthy diet is also very important. Basic energy conservation techniques with home duties can also assist. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from family, friends or service providers.
Interchange Australia provides assistance with personal and domestic chores. Having some help with simplifying or reducing some of the heavier tasks can really reduce that fatigue, and in the long run, help manage the symptoms of MS.
For more information about the services Interchange Australia offers, please call one of our friendly and experienced Consultants on 1300 112 334. For more information about MS, visit the MS Australia website.